Simphiwe Dana Biography: Queen Of Jazz And Afro-Soul

She is thriving in music and in love.

By  | Oct 15, 2021, 12:16 PM  | Simphiwe Dana  | Top of The

Simphiwe Dana-jazz musician
Simphiwe Dana is a force to reckon in the music industry as she has dominated it for over two decades. Her live performances are recognized in the global jazz arena as one of the best. 

The jazz musician is all-rounded as she does not shy away from sensitive issues in the society such as politics, which impact the everyday lives of South Africans.

Simphiwe Dana sings timeless music and throughout her career, she has warmed many hearts. 
Simphiwe Dana is an afro-feminist who uses her music to spread and celebrate feminism views and ideas. On social media, she uses her space to support women through advice, sharing their content, and uplifting them each day. 

This is how the soulful voiced Simphiwe Dana rose to fame:

Simphiwe Dana Age

Simphiwe Dana was born on the 23rd of January in 1980. She is 41 years old

Simphiwe Dana Early Life

Simphiwe Dana was born in Gcuwa a township of Butterworth based in the Transkei, Eastern Cape, South Africa. 

Growing up, she was raised in the town of Lusikisiki, in the Ingquza Hill Local Municipality. Simphiwe and her sister, Siphokazi were sent to go live with their grandmother as their mother was a student nurse at the time. 
Simphiwe Dana was raised in a religious family where she grew up with her father who was a preacher.

Simphiwe Dana Mother

Simphiwe Dana has constantly praised her mother and said that she has greatly impacted her music. The musician was devastated when she lost her mother on July 21, 2021. She shared on Twitter that her entire family, including adopted children are wounded by the loss of their mother and asked her fans to keep them in prayers.

Simphiwe Dana’s mother was a huge part of her music. The musician featured her mother in her hit song ‘Bantu Biko Street’  in the music video. Her amazing music was Simphiwe Dana’s special way of honoring her mother while she was still alive.
Youtube embed

Simphiwe Dana’s mother will always be remembered for her work in health as she worked as a healthworker. At the time of her death, Simphiwe Dana’s mother, a retired nurse, had returned to the workforce to help ease the burden of Covid-19 on healthcare workers. Unfortunately, she contracted the Covid-19 virus and later died from its complications.

Simphiwe Dana Education

Simphiwe Dana did her secondary school studies at the Vela Private School in Mthatha for her secondary studies and she entered in 1997. 

She later enrolled for tertiary education at the Wits Technikon in Johannesburg where she studied National Diploma in Information Technology (IT).

Simphiwe Dana Career

When she was studying in Johannesburg, Simphiwe Dana didn’t waste time or the opportunity to create a name for herself. She started singing in small clubs where she was getting recognised and brought attention to herself. 

In 2004, Simphiwe Dana made a major impact in South Africa when she released her debut album, Zandisile. On the day of its release, the album was recognised and gained success in the Billboard charts and she won an AVO Session Basel Award.
Youtube embed

Simphiwe Dana was globally recognised for her contemporary soul, traditional African music and the elements of gospel and blues in her music. She started gaining a huge fan base as her music would comfort people and remind them of musical giants such as Miriam Makeba and Hugh Masekela.
Simphiwe Dana is a versatile musician who always ensured that she entertains the youth and grasp their attention through her contemporary pop. Gaining her popularity and performing throughout the globe, she was honoured and did the theme song of the Yizo Yizo television show.
Simphiwe Dana worked on having appearances at key national events and Festivals such as Arts Alive, the Cape Town International Jazz Festival and the Standard Bank Joy of Jazz. She continued to have tours and perform at live concerts.
She released another album, Kulture Noir, which was released in 2010. Moments after, Simphwe Dana released her live album titled An Evening with Sipmhiwe Dana Live in Concert, the album was accompanied by a 27-piece orchestra.
Youtube embed

Award-winning artist Simphiwe Dana finally dropped her album Bamako, which is her last album before she bows out of the music industry.

Simphiwe, prior to the album release, dropped two singles Uzokhala and Usikhonzile from the album. The release of the album was delayed due to the coronavirus in South Africa.

The album Bamako is named after the capital city of Mali and this is where she found inspiration to finish recording the album with musician Salif Keita and his band.

Simphiwe taking to Twitter in March 2020 in a now-deleted post tweeted "I'm gracefully bowing out. I've given you a stellar album. Watch out for it. I love you."

The singer, however, explained to TshisaLIVE that the decision was not set in stone, but is something she was definitely considering it due to the instability of the industry.

Simphiwe Dana Awards

Her career over the years has seen her earn the recognition that she desrves as an artist.

Here's a list of the awards she has won.

2005 - South African Music Award for Newcomer of the Year at the South African Music Awards
2007 - South African Music Award for Female Artist of the Year  at the South African Music Awards
2007 - South African Music Award for Album of the Year at the South African Music Awards
2018 - South African Music Award for Best African Artist at the South African Music Awards

Simphiwe Dana Family

Simphiwe Dana was engaged to Leshoto Itswneng.
Unfortunately their relationship did not last because of the physical abuse that was happening in the relationship. 
They separated after her fiance reported her for assault and she was arrested.  
Simphiwe Dana has two children, a boy named Phalo and a girl named Zandisile. 

Simphiwe Dana recently shared her 15-year-old son’s art on the internet declaring how proud she was of him. She tweeted that she may just retire as her son is selling his amazing artwork. Looks like the dream is coming true as Simphiwe Dana has speculated over bowing out of music.

On the 30th of May 2020, Simphiwe revealed that the baby daddy came to visit his children after a ten year long disappearing act.
However, it seems Simphiwe Dana forgave him and only wants what's best for her kids.

Simphiwe Dana Finds Love Again

Simphiwe Dana found love again in the arms of Pumeza Matshikiza, an opera singer. Before Simphiwe Dana introduced Pumeza to the public, she came out as gay woman surprising many of her fans who were not aware. 

"I’ve been holding this in since forever. I’m gay," she tweeted.

Simphiwe Dana later revealed that she engaged to Pumeza on Twitter where she shared several photos of the two loverbirds. The singer said that marrying Pumeza will make her a happy woman and she does not care what the society thinks about it.

"I know coming out means Africa will block me. But, after a lot of thinking, I’m ok with it. I’m marrying a woman, and I’ve never been happier," she tweeted.

Simphiwe Dana Arrest

In 2019, Simphiwe Dana was arrested over a case of assault that was opened against her by her ex-fiance. In explaining her story - she states that he spat on her face and she retaliated as a result, 

“This guy spat in my face. Strangled me. Told me he would slit my
throat and get away with it. Said his friend in the police force runs the province. A Mr Langa, who I’m sure knows nothing of his abusive ways. I was intended to marry him. I don’t play that game. In a world where we have sleepless nights for our daughters. A man threatening me in this way will have all my wrath. His name is Leshoto Itsweng.”

The Bantu Biko Street hitmaker, then laid charges of assault and intimidation against her former lover at the Norwood Police station. The musician alleged that her ex-fiance had assaulted her three days prior to laying the charges.

The statement reads in part: “She was informed in light of this development, she would be arrested and imprisoned, as per procedure where such charges are laid."

Simphiwe Dana was informed of the charges on the 16th of January and she immediately handed herself over to the police, who arrested her and she spent some time in the holding cell.

However, she was later on released as the prosecutor dismissed the flimsy charges that had been filed against her.
Simphiwe Dana Comments (Source: Instagram Screenshot)

Simphiwe Dana Controversy

Simpiwe Dana is known for her activity and firm social media voice, but she has more often been dragged than praised. 

She once dragged South African men through the mud and let's just say the men came out guns blazing. 

"Truth is that South African men are the biggest gold diggers. They even dig the maintenance money” she said

This led to a backlash and Simphiwe Dana being attacked by different twitter users and some of the users dragged her in the most insensitive way talking about her family, her musical career and claimed that it is already is on its knees. Some of the users went as far as creating a hashtag, #SimphiweDanaMustFall

Simphiwe Dana does not shy away from expressing how she feels about any situation and AKA seems to have crossed on the wrong path with her. Simphiwe Dana caught wind of AKA throwing shade at rapper Boity Thulo, and homegirl did not waste any time to express how she feels about his tweet and clapped back.

AKA had tweeted "Someone said Boity is a better rapper than me ... I nearly died," and Simphiwe Dana responded by letting AKA know that she does not like the way he embarrasses women. 

A woman outed Simphiwe for releasing a man by the name of Mohau from a Kenyan prison who she later found out he had abused her little sister's friend.

Simphiwe Dnan claims to have been asked by her sister to help Mohau out as his passport was confiscated.

"I jumped and thought how I could be of help. I helped out. The very next morning I read Malatji’s tweets about his experience of the whole debacle that put Mohau in jail. I was shocked and saddened at how I helped someone who abused a woman get out of jail," she tweeted.

Simphiwe Dana was labelled an enabler as more stories seem to emerge about her sweeping abuse claims under the rug.

Simphiwe Dana is considered a legend in Africa for her musical contributions and having to collect the history of Africans in Africa. She did her history collection through her music and speaking about the realities of life which made her be expressive as she is in music.

What Next For Simphiwe Dana?

Simphiwe Dana has mentioned that she has bowed out of music and that South Africa is too unsafe for her to stay forever. So what is next for the legend?

In an interview with Sunday Times, Simphiwe Dana said she was contemplating moving away from South Africa as her children and her are living in the country in constant fear. She added that she would prefer to move to Berlin in Europe because the city is cosmopolitan and she would not feel like a foreigner.

“There are pockets of places like that in the world where you can live no matter where you are from, no matter the colour of your skin, religious and sexual orientation,” Simphiwe Dana told the Sunday Times

Read more